Vehicles are an invaluable modern convenience, but the cost of that convenience extends far beyond putting gas in the tank. If you fail to keep up with regular vehicle maintenance and take care of your car, you face frustration, mounting repair costs, car accidents, and the possibility of losing your vehicle. When it comes to your vehicle, err on the side of caution and read through this list of what not to do with it.

  1. Procrastinating when it comes to maintenance: If your vehicle has scheduled maintenance due, make the time to ensure it gets done. An inspection may eat up an afternoon, but it’s better than letting a problem go unnoticed too long, or risking a ticket for failing to have your vehicle inspected on time.
  1. Ignoring the Check Engine light for too long: Some drivers panic when this lights up on the dash. Others ignore it until the problem becomes serious. Neither is a good idea. If your Check Engine light turns on, don’t panic – call your service center and schedule a time to have it checked as soon as possible. For some vehicles, this light can come on for simple reasons, such as forgetting to screw the gas cap the whole way on, or letting your car go too long without changing the oil. It’s always better to have your vehicle checked sooner rather than later.
  1. Forgetting oil changes: Depending on the type of oil your car needs, the time between changes varies. Check with your car’s manufacturer about the kind of oil necessary, and how many miles you can drive before you’ll need to change it again.
  1. Neglecting your tires: Your tires may be underinflated, even if they don’t appear to be. A good habit to get into is to check your tire pressure whenever you refuel, if time permits. Driving with underinflated tires can cause serious wheel damage, and makes your car more susceptible to damage from bumpy or rough roads.
  1. Forgetting to check your fluids: Oil and gas aren’t the only fluids that make your car work. Transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, and windshield wiper fluid are critical. Make sure to regularly check these fluids or schedule a time to have a professional check them.
  1. Pushing your vehicle too hard: Driving in extreme temperatures can be risky, and if your car overheats, you should find a place to rest while your car cools down. Driving while the car is overheating can cause severe damage, meaning expensive repairs.
  1. Forgetting filters: Your vehicle houses several types of filters for the air circulating through the engine, the oil well, and your fuel. It’s vital to check these filters regularly and have them replaced once they’ve reached their limits. If you don’t, you risk contaminants clogging up your car’s inner workings, and possibly damage.
  1. DIY repairs: Unless you’re certain that you know what you’re doing, it’s always best to have a professional service your vehicle. Even small repairs can cause serious issues if done incorrectly.
  1. Poor quality vehicle service: If you’re unfamiliar with vehicle repairs, it’s important to go to a service center with a solid reputation for high-quality professional service. Underqualified shops or service technicians can cause more problems than they fix, and they may attempt to bill you for the issues they caused.
  1. Aftermarket parts: When it comes to car parts, you certainly get what you pay for, and it’s always better to stick with parts from the original equipment manufacturer rather than aftermarket parts.

Keep these tips in mind when it comes to your vehicle. Proper care and professional maintenance will keep your car on the road longer and help you avoid expensive repairs, or the need to buy a new car sooner than you’d like.